On the morning of December 7th 1941, Fireman 1/c Edward G. Correla was just finishing breakfast onboard the USS DETROIT (CLB-8) when General Quarters was sounded. He rushed to his GQ station in the Number 4 Fireroom. The boilers were full of water so they immediately lit fires. Ed says, "What a mess to find out where the water level was! But, WT 1/c McCoy, a good Irishman, ordered me topside to take off the stack cover."
As ordered, Ed made it topside, climbed the stack and with his trusty jack knife began cutting the stack cover away. It was then that the DETROITís 3 inch anti-aircraft guns began to fire and Ed saw a Japanese plane inbound and strafing the shipís quarter deck. "I came off that stack as fast as I could", he recalls. But there was a casualty, Ed lost his knife, which he wishes he still had, and the where-about of the stack cover remains an unknown.
In the meantime, a torpedo hit the USS RALEIGH. The explosion lifted the stern of the DETROIT (luckily) permitting a second torpedo to pass under the DETROIT and explode on Ford Island.
After getting underway, Ed went up to the scuttlebutt to get water for the fire gang. Looking out a porthole, he saw that the ARIZONA was afire.
Flames were trying to burn the United States flag and he could see the heat waves moving it. The DETROIT continued underway and the ARIZONA passed from Edís view, but he wonders to this day if the ARIZONAís colors survived.
Fifty eight years later, Ed recalls "That day in my life is just like yesterday."